When YouTube first made its Internet debut in 2005, no one could have predicted the global affect it would have for musicians or record labels.
Fast-forward to present day, and wannabe recording artists are exploiting the dot.com site to broadcast their music to the world and to get noticed by record companies.
One case in point is Euro dance artist Abie Flinstone, a 19-year-old wunderkind from Lommel, Belgium, who has been likened to an Asian female Eminem and has used YouTube to her advantage.
For her efforts and marketing acumen, Flinstone's reward is that she has been signed by New York-based Big Jake Music, an indie record label and part of Seven Arts Music. Recently, parent company Seven Arts Entertainment announced that it will start marketing Flinstone's single "Get Outta My Way," featuring Kaliq Scott, a song she recorded in her bedroom. The song has reached no. 2 on Belgium's dance charts and will be available later this month in the U.S.
Like Flinstone, another up-and-coming artist who has enjoyed virtual success via YouTube, is Natassia Zolot, or Kreayshawn as she's known by her stage name -- a 22-year-old white rapper from East Oakland, Calif.
Last year, Kreayshawn recorded her now-famous "Gucci Gucci," a catchy ode to independence from designer labels, then used YouTube to premier her video. By Internet standards, it became an overnight sensation, garnering 11 million hits by August 2011. She has since pocketed a seven-figure record deal, and shows no signs of slowing down. Not bad for a girl who admits that she thought she was "still going to be struggling to pay rent."
"I believe YouTube is changing everything for music artists," said Jake Shapiro, founder of Big Jake Music.
"Because of YouTube, small, independent record labels are now able to choose from the best of the best," he added.
With the backing of Big Jake Music, Flinstone finds herself in good company.